Parallel lines in two lawsuits against Tennessee

Only one plaintiff remains employed by UT

Associated Press
Tennessee guard Ariel Massengale is helped from the court by assistant coach Dean Lockwood, right, and trainer Jenny Moshak during a game against Texas A&M on Feb. 28 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

Photo by Wade Payne, AP2013

Associated Press Tennessee guard Ariel Massengale is helped from the court by assistant coach Dean Lockwood, right, and trainer Jenny Moshak during a game against Texas A&M on Feb. 28 at Thompson-Boling Arena.

In a three-week span last fall, two separate lawsuits were filed against the University of Tennessee by current and former athletic department employees.

Almost eight months later, pending litigation against the university has seen developments, but little traction.

In one case claiming discrimination and retaliation, the second of three plaintiffs has been relieved of duties by the university.

In the other case based on similar allegations, the university has added highly regarded outside counsel to the fray.

In both, a new presiding federal judge, Karen K. Caldwell of Kentucky’s Eastern District Court, and new United State Magistrate Judge H. Bruce Guyton, have been assigned.

Each case will eventually move forward, traveling parallel lines.

Last Thursday brought confirmation from UT that associate strength and conditioning coach Heather Mason has been placed on administrative leave and will no longer be employed by the university as of June 3.

Mason is a co-plaintiff with current associate athletics director for sports medicine Jenny Moshak and former associate director for women’s strength and conditioning Collin Schlosser in a U.S. District Court lawsuit alleging discrimination and retaliation filed on Oct. 11, 2012. Schlosser was among 15 UT athletic department employees terminated on April 16, 2012.

Reached by the News Sentinel on Wednesday, attorney Keith Stewart declined to offer a formal statement regarding Mason’s dismissal. Stewart has represented Moshak, Mason and Schlosser since the three originally filed a discrimination complaint with the university in February 2010.

In the suit, the three plaintiffs alleged that members of the UT men’s athletic department received more favorable wages than women’s athletic department personnel for comparable jobs.

Only one plaintiff — Moshak — remains employed by the university.

The 24-year veteran of the athletic department sat behind a fold-out table in the university bookstore the same day it was learned Mason had been terminated. She greeted fans, signing copies of her new book, “Ice ‘N’ Go,” a how-to on personal training and raising young athletes. The bookstore’s mural of Ayers Hall served as the backdrop.

The lawsuit withstanding, The University of Tennessee Press published Moshak’s book.

Schlosser, meanwhile, currently works as a personal trainer in Chicago.

Most recently, Caldwell denied the plaintiff’s motion for a default judgment based on UT’s “failure to answer the complaint.”

In the case of former Lady Vols publicist Debby Jennings, a separate suit filed on Sept. 27, 2012, alleging “unlawful discrimination and retaliation” against the university and athletic director Dave Hart — UT has retained outside council. Attorney Edward G. Phillips, head of the Employment and Labor group for Knoxville law firm Kramer Rayson, is now on board.

UT spokeswoman Margie Nichols told the News Sentinel on Wednesday the decision was based on “workload issues.”

“The (university’s) general counsel has the ability to hire outside counsel when needed,” Nichols said.

Jennings is represented by Burkhalter, Rayson & Associates.

UT has not formally responded to the Moshak, Mason, Schlosser suit or the suit filed by Jennings. Only motions to dismiss aspects of the complaints have been filed.

On Thursday, both sides will join the suit’s newly assigned judges for a status conference. Attorney David Burkhalter said on Wednesday he was unsure of the scope of the teleconference.

Jennings, who spent more than 35 years as the primary media contact for Lady Vols athletics, is seeking monetary and injunctive relief. Her suit alleges that she was “marginalized and ostracized” and “denied employment opportunities due to her gender/or age.”

That is the crux of the suit’s unlawful termination and retaliation facet.

Mason’s recent termination may open the door for the same complaint to be added to the Moshak, Mason, Schlosser suit. No reason was given by UT for the move when asked by the News Sentinel.

In 10 years with the Lady Vols, Mason worked extensively with the basketball program and was “responsible for all facets of training 11 Lady Vol teams,” according to her biography in a UT media guide.

In a recent interview with the Sports Animal, Lady Vols basketball coach Holly Warlick said she will have considerable input in hiring Mason’s replacement, adding, “We have to get in better shape. We have to get basketball specific.”

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Comments » 50

utvolfan1955 writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

your blather has actually gotten comical

lemme_axya_this writes:

Moshak, Mason, and Jennings.... I'm thinking they have more in common than just their lawsuits against U.T.

flatrock writes:

I am a huge Pat fan. An amazing person, coach, mentor, role model, etc...Unfortunately, her incredible success apparently created a false sense of worth among her staffers...As great and entertaining as the Lady Vols have been, they have only recently reached break-even financially...Unlike Pat, the trainer, weight coach, etc., are not icons in the world of college athletics and should only be paid what a program can afford.

WetumpkaThumpa writes:

Just another example of the mess that the UTK Administration has been for the last twenty years. Moshak even being allowed on campus is a joke, much less her signing her book there! Somebody other than a lawyer show some leadership at UTK for God's sake!

keepitreal4vols writes:

Life lesson: Don't bite the hand that feeds you.

alfrizzle097 writes:

in response to WetumpkaThumpa:

Just another example of the mess that the UTK Administration has been for the last twenty years. Moshak even being allowed on campus is a joke, much less her signing her book there! Somebody other than a lawyer show some leadership at UTK for God's sake!

And how are you to justify banning her from publicly owned property? Agreed that the book signing on campus while all this is going on looks a little weird.

These cases won't amount to anything other than copious legal fees. Men's program has more definable worth than the women's program. The same holds true across most if not all of the country. This means the market will dictate a higher wage for the more in demand men's employees.

If the wage discrimination suit goes anywhere, it will be because of an incredibly loose interpretation of title nine. It would basically rewrite the wage scale for all of college athletics if this went through.

Snapshot writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Why don't you and "Bama" Jeff get a room? On second thought since you keep referring to him as the "greatest", maybe you already have. lol

CroKev writes:

I think it's pretty clear that "GroveBilly" and "Shofner" are one and the same person.

Here's the deal. Everybody knows that Football is the moneymaker - always has been and always will be. That's become even more apparent lately when we haven't filled up the stadium, creating a huge deficit. Much of this money also went to academics in addition to funding lesser sports teams.

In the 80's, UT had to drop wrestling because of Title IX (though UT wrestling was a top 5 or 6 program in the entire country and had just had its first national champion!). The reasoning was simple - either UT could add women's sports or remove men's sports. The math led to the latter.

Lots of industries have been riding the financial bandwagon for a while now but as we all know, the times call for some belt-tightening. Women's sports, right or wrong, are simply not the cash cows that men's football is. Look at the forums - more people read and write about which UT FB players didn't make the NFL draft than all the other sports - men's and women's - combined (that would still be the case even if one of them had won the NC).

Moral of the story: make sure you are not expendable, no matter how long you have been in a job.

burpee_von_rotweiler_IV writes:

in response to lemme_axya_this:

Moshak, Mason, and Jennings.... I'm thinking they have more in common than just their lawsuits against U.T.

Wonder what that could be? Gonna sit back and stay "open minded" and let the truth "come out." They probably needed firing decades ago but since they were part of the Summitt Dynasty, they got free passes. That gravy train is done. Not going to indict Mr. Hart just yet.

CrankE writes:

Parallel WHINES in two lawsuits against Tennessee

There. I fixed it.

WaltGoVoIs writes:

in response to Johnny_Aint_No_Del_Shofner:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

But Dave "Your Cheating" Hart hired Coach Jones!

How many times have the clueless posted -that- factoid? Yeah, he hired Coach Jones, after claiming he wanted SEC experience and getting rebuffed by candidate after candidate.

Dave Hart has been a disaster for the university.

But the fix is still in.

Walt

UT '81

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

These suits are simply a way to try and leverage more money. If the pay was that bad why take the position in the first place?? Now (especially the two separated employees) are free to hire on at any wage they desire. However, I don't see any other athletic dept begging for their services. Can you say "Dead Weight"??

laraccoon writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

"the vol truth squad" geez dude what are you like 4 years old ?

underthehill writes:

I think the Jennings lawsuit is very different..I think it came about because Pat reported to Debbie Jennings that Hart had fired her and she was out ..I think I read where she went to Jennings and signed a document to that effect.. I think Jennings began to object to Hart's actions..I think Hart then reported there was a misunderstanding with Pat and called another meeting and gave her the job she now has..I think Jennings then filed her lawsuit ..after she was fired..if I am correct this will all come out when..make that..if..the lawsuit does go to trial..if the lawsuit is settled..I think it will mean UT has more to lose if it does go to trial..is anyone writing a book on this..going to be interesting..

alfrizzle097 writes:

in response to 1Percenter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

So even if their feelings are justifiably hurt, what exactly is their case?

Jennings seems to have a stronger case than the others if only because we don't know all the details of hers.

SomeGuy writes:

It sounds like Mason was fired partly at the behest of Warlick for doing a lousy job. Why wait until the very last paragraph of the story to report that while letting the impression build throughout the rest of the story that she was fired for retaliation purposes?

BigBadVol writes:

LMAO! I check in this morning and what do I find? Collegegrovebilly spouting his typical nonsense. He is the first poster at 11:14 at night. LOL! Please dude get a life.

Ayres_Hall writes:

in response to Johnny_Aint_No_Del_Shofner:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Is that you, Harvey Updyke?

volsmith writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You are 100% right. Hart and Cheek both need to go somewhere else.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to 1Percenter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Do you work at an athletic department?? Didn't think so..Are you experienced in college sports, ever play D1 ball?? Didn't think so..Attending Rhodes University doesn't mean I'm a Rhodes scholar, JA..It does mean my degree probably has more weight than a state university degree..Just the way it is, 45/99%BS..

wagee12 writes:

In a recent interview with the Sports Animal, Lady Vols basketball coach Holly Warlick said she will have considerable input in hiring Mason’s replacement, adding, “We have to get in better shape. We have to get basketball specific.”
DISMISSED

Otherwise-- Yawn, ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ,

chsdrop writes:

I believe Tennessee is a right to work state so they don't have to give you or have a reason to let you go. I don't know if this applies in these cases. I agree with Holly. I don't think the trainer was doing the best job. Way to many injuries.

underthehill writes:

in response to SomeGuy:

It sounds like Mason was fired partly at the behest of Warlick for doing a lousy job. Why wait until the very last paragraph of the story to report that while letting the impression build throughout the rest of the story that she was fired for retaliation purposes?

On the other hand ..she may be protecting her job by going along with the powers that be..if Mason was not doing her job..would it have not been apparent before now..didn't the article say she was in that position for 10 years..and when Hart brought some guy into the Lady Vols program from Miss State ..did Holly not do the same..went along with Hart to help herself and not make Hart look like he was not hiring another crony..if I was in Holly's position..I'm sure I would do the same..wouldn't you..

pcshowtime writes:

For the last time it does not matter which sports make money and which ones lose money. not in court of law, not to the NCAA. No matter how many times people bring up mens football makes money womens sports lose money. It is still not going to amount to a hill of beans. It is what it is. So find a new argument.

cheetah-vol writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Whoever called you must've had the wrong number.

Hart and Cheek and others in the UTAD may come tumbling down someday, but neither you or any other person who posts on this site will have anything to do with it. If that happened, it seems to me it'll just give you an excuse to scream, "I told you so!!" "I told you so!!"

If you believe that no one who is a VOL fan doesn't have problems or issues with UTAD, then you're as naïve as you claim them to be most of the time. It's quite apparent that not everyone chooses to go on and on with the same pedantic comments that are made ad nauseum.

If you are going to continue to dish it out to fellow VOLS by calling them ugly names because they disagree with you, then I hope you'll be man enough to receive them back.

Have a nice day. GBO!

HoraceMorris writes:

How does Moshak still have a job over there? She's suing the school, wrote a book about it, and got someone involved with UT to print the book. Dave Hart should have canned her when he canned Debbie Jennings.

WaltGoVoIs writes:

in response to HoraceMorris:

How does Moshak still have a job over there? She's suing the school, wrote a book about it, and got someone involved with UT to print the book. Dave Hart should have canned her when he canned Debbie Jennings.

That would help prove her side in the suit.

Walt

UT '81

WaltGoVoIs writes:

in response to Johnny_Aint_No_Del_Shofner:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Good stuff. I wonder whose water he is toting.

Walt

UT '81

budd#207344 writes:

in response to pcshowtime:

For the last time it does not matter which sports make money and which ones lose money. not in court of law, not to the NCAA. No matter how many times people bring up mens football makes money womens sports lose money. It is still not going to amount to a hill of beans. It is what it is. So find a new argument.

Please, logic, common sense, and truthfulness will get you banned from this site in a heart beat. These posters do not want to hear any of that.

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to 1Percenter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'm the one that's arrogant says the borderline personalty type, 99%BS..laughing at you, JH.

HoraceMorris writes:

in response to WaltGoVoIs:

That would help prove her side in the suit.

Walt

UT '81

How so? She's demanding to be paid the same as her male counterpart even though she deals with far less athletes than her male counterpart. Besides, there are other well-qualified trainers who would love to have her job.

dwolfcreek#397971 writes:

Blame Dooley he's the garbage can for you trash mouths on here .

CroKev writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nobody took me up on it Ace. Takes 2 to tango.

I'll tell you what. How about you (and your multiple aliases) and I make a bet and shake on it. I'd surely love to meet you Sybil...

ModelMaker writes:

I am really glad to see that Holly will have a big impact on hiring Mason's replacement. I thought there were way too many injuries over the last five year's compared to Uconn, Baylor, Notre Dame, and Stanford. It look's to me like Hart and Holly are on the same page.

CroKev writes:

For those of you who can handle it, I've found a very disturbing explanation for 'Shofner' and 'Grovebilly.' Warning, this is not easy to watch...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GJ1KcX...

CroKev writes:

in response to pcshowtime:

For the last time it does not matter which sports make money and which ones lose money. not in court of law, not to the NCAA. No matter how many times people bring up mens football makes money womens sports lose money. It is still not going to amount to a hill of beans. It is what it is. So find a new argument.

Of course, you're right with re. to the law. I was just trying to interject some economic reality into the long-term situation, w/o respect to the law.

As re. the law, this case will not go to court and will be settled handsomely for the plaintiffs by order of the board. Even if they consider the accusations frivolous, they don't want this story on the front pages for the next year.

Hey, is it just me or do 'Shof' and 'Grove' show up #1 and #2 quite frequently on recent posts? Probably just a coincidence...

Volbound1700 writes:

I have brought up Jimmy Cheeks to Republican meetings to sitting State Senators and members of Haslem's staff. Hopefully they have the guts to do something about him. There was a lot of complaints about him allowing "sex" week at UT in the State Senate and it has drawn unwanted attention to UT. Combined that with the rising debt at the school and now it looks like discrimination lawsuits, hopefully this is enough ammo to remove Cheeks. I am not sure who is in his corner right now but Cheeks has been unphased at the moment.

UTvols33 writes:

in response to alfrizzle097:

And how are you to justify banning her from publicly owned property? Agreed that the book signing on campus while all this is going on looks a little weird.

These cases won't amount to anything other than copious legal fees. Men's program has more definable worth than the women's program. The same holds true across most if not all of the country. This means the market will dictate a higher wage for the more in demand men's employees.

If the wage discrimination suit goes anywhere, it will be because of an incredibly loose interpretation of title nine. It would basically rewrite the wage scale for all of college athletics if this went through.

Just because more people watch men's athletics than women's doesn't mean that men should make more for doing the same job.

UTvols33 writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I hope you are doing more than posting on a blog, because I really don't think Hart or Cheek read this.

UTvols33 writes:

If 4 different women call foul, then more than likely there is some validity to it. I can't believe some of the comments on here. There must be a lot of old men on here with 50's mindsets.

alfrizzle097 writes:

in response to UTvols33:

Just because more people watch men's athletics than women's doesn't mean that men should make more for doing the same job.

But it isn't the same job. Do you make more money waiting tables at Red Lobster or the local romantic hot spot?

Supply and demand. Higher demand curve assuming equal supply will dictate higher prices. I would be shocked if you look around the country and the men's trainers don't make more than the women's.

This has nothing to do with the trainers being a man or a woman. It has to do with the demand for their respective positions.

Navaloranges writes:

in response to WaltGoVoIs:

But Dave "Your Cheating" Hart hired Coach Jones!

How many times have the clueless posted -that- factoid? Yeah, he hired Coach Jones, after claiming he wanted SEC experience and getting rebuffed by candidate after candidate.

Dave Hart has been a disaster for the university.

But the fix is still in.

Walt

UT '81

Funny how you and jf claim to be Tennesse fans but do nothing but trash UT. Both of you, along with all your childish screen names need to move on and leave the REAL, SANE Vol fans alone. You and your lone cronie are NOT TENNESSEE FANS, PERIOD. You are BOTH PATHETIC LITTLE KNOW-IT-ALL NOTHINGS whose whole life is nagging, stalking, and spinning little lies on the website of a team you OBVIOUSLY don't like. You need to start a site of your own called "Fulmer, the ONLY answer" and leave the actual TENNESSEE FOOTBALL fans alone. Anybody that's been on here for more than a week can see that you and jeffy are NOT fans of the program, but fans of yourselves and Coach Fulmer ONLY.

GET A FREAKING LIFE. That goes for you too jeffy, you FRAUD.

alfrizzle097 writes:

in response to UTvols33:

If 4 different women call foul, then more than likely there is some validity to it. I can't believe some of the comments on here. There must be a lot of old men on here with 50's mindsets.

If 4 different women believe that the difference in their pay is based on their gender, but it is really based on the position they are filling...

I don't know all the specifics, truth be told. But I do believe the pay scale claims are bogus. Any gender discrimination claims based on behavior in the workplace may have more weight.

UTvols33 writes:

in response to alfrizzle097:

But it isn't the same job. Do you make more money waiting tables at Red Lobster or the local romantic hot spot?

Supply and demand. Higher demand curve assuming equal supply will dictate higher prices. I would be shocked if you look around the country and the men's trainers don't make more than the women's.

This has nothing to do with the trainers being a man or a woman. It has to do with the demand for their respective positions.

Your example is two different locations, like UA trainers may make more than UT trainers. If a male waiter working at Red Lobster makes more per hour (base pay, no tips) with the same experience and aptitude as a female waitress at Red Lobster, then there could be an arguement for sexual discrimination. It has nothing to do with supply and demand, it's not accross the entire job market, it's the situation at a specific location, UT.. I don't understand your point of view. There are women trainers that work in men's sports.

alfrizzle097 writes:

in response to UTvols33:

Your example is two different locations, like UA trainers may make more than UT trainers. If a male waiter working at Red Lobster makes more per hour (base pay, no tips) with the same experience and aptitude as a female waitress at Red Lobster, then there could be an arguement for sexual discrimination. It has nothing to do with supply and demand, it's not accross the entire job market, it's the situation at a specific location, UT.. I don't understand your point of view. There are women trainers that work in men's sports.

And those women's trainers working in men's sports should be equally compensated with the men working in men's sports once taking qualifications into account. Additionally, if gender is being used as a consideration to not hire women in the men's athletic department or vice versa, then that is discrimination as well.

My analogy wasn't perfect obviously. Let's pretend the two restaurants share a building and are owned by the same company. An employee hired to wait tables in the nice restaurant will still be paid more than one hired to wait tables on the less fancy side. That does not make it discrimination.

I am saying that if you assumed the women complaining were men, would you say they were being treated unfairly? IMO they are not. They are working in a job that has a naturally lower pay scale (feel free to correct me if that is untrue across the market) and are being paid accordingly. It has nothing to do with gender aside from the people they are working with.

TexasVolMD writes:

I find it telling and somewhat a conflict of interest that UT and Jennings are represented by a law firm with the name Rayson in the title...keeping it in the family I presume?

hufstedler02 writes:

in response to UTvols33:

Just because more people watch men's athletics than women's doesn't mean that men should make more for doing the same job.

Actually, if we are strictly basing the argument on economics, that is exactly what it means. From a purely business standpoint, the market dictates what something or someone is worth. I love women's basketball, but there is a reason why most of the top women's coaches in the country make less than many average college football coaches.

Colliervol writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Billy/Jeffy or whatever your name is this week (hard for any of us to keep track), you would do well to remember this advice: It's not a problem if you talk to yourself. It is a problem when you answer yourself. That's called schizophrenia and you are exhibiting the signs. Just trying to help the less fortunate. I'd send you a bill but I doubt you are gainfully employed enough to afford it. And the benefit package at the Waffle House won't cover it.

CroKev writes:

in response to collegegrovebilly:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

OK, I now have a better feel for what I'm dealing with so I'll type slowly... ;-)

Scenario: I want to bet you $5 that my dog will beat yours in a race. You think yours is faster but you aren't sure so you refuse to make the bet. The dogs race anyway and yours wins. Are you now going to demand that I pay you $5?

If this doesn't clear it up, try using cats, horses, giraffes, etc. in the same scenario and see if it helps...

Btw, you called me 2 things above: an honorable person (probably sarcasm) and an ilk ("you're ilk") minus the article. I'm not sure you're using that word correctly.

Finally, if I did lose the bet, I would have left for the year. I guess I could have done the dishonorable thing and used another screen name, ummm, let's say "DelShofner," but then that wouldn't be right, would it...

SomeGuy writes:

in response to 1Percenter:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Nobody "sharted" on Fulmer. He came close to destroying the football program which pays for women's sports at UT while his clueless bosses Hamilton and Cheeks looked on. If anyone was sharted on it was Majors and the guy who did the sharting was Fulmer. Pretending that Fulmer is some sort of victim of anyone other than himself totally destroys any credibility you might have to comment on UT athletics.

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